This week, the Senate is considering a plan to improve cybersecurity. Its advocates say they want to prevent computer hackers from going after the power grid or other vital infrastructure in this country. Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski contends a cyberattack could be worse than the freak storm that hit the nation's capital this summer.
The latest national security issue to figure in the presidential campaign has little to do with Iran, Afghanistan or other foreign policy challenges. Mitt Romney is instead focusing on what he and other Republicans allege is the Obama administration's record of leaking classified information for political purposes.
When an experimental U.S. spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960, the U.S. government quickly came up with elaborate cover stories.
"The plane [Soviet leader Nikita] Khrushchev reported shot down inside Russian territory presumably is an American, single-engine jet, a U-2 reported missing on a flight along the Turkish-Russian border last Sunday," a broadcast at the time said. "The national space agency has been flying these planes, 10 of them, in many parts of the world, studying the upper atmosphere."
A leak — in a pipeline, at a nuclear plant, within a top-secret agency — can be dangerous, disastrous, deadly. But sometimes a leak can also be a good thing — drawing attention to a larger systemic problem.
The debate over news leaks bubbled up again this week after reports that The New York Times relied on information from top-tier and unnamed U.S. officials to reveal details about the U.S. cyberbattle against Iran.
Even as ties grew strained over the past few years, U.S. government and military officials generally used diplomatic language when talking about differences with Pakistan. But nowadays the Americans aren't even bothering to disguise their displeasure with their longtime ally.
Several recent events have shown just how blunt the Americans have become.